Valkenswaard lay in the vice-grip of the Austrian team with Jeffrey Herlings dominant throughout MX2 and appearing as untouchable as his team-mate Ken Roczen was in Bulgaria two weeks ago. Max Nagl was able to profit from a crash by Yamaha Monster Energy racer Steven Frossard deep into the MX1 heat to earn first choice for the motos tomorrow.
A sweaty day near Eindhoven created dry and dusty sand, which led to several riders complaining about the deceptive nature of the soft top-layer often shifting to unveil a harder and slippery base. A decent crowd took advantage of the date alteration over Easter weekend to apply sunscreen and ignore the Dutch beaches.
Herlings was supreme – as had been as a rookie here in 2010 – in MX2 and only Roczen was able to match his lap-times, although the German was handicapped in the heat by a lapse getaway. ‘If I don’t get a good start then he’ll be gone,’ he was overheard succinctly saying to team members. CLS Kawasaki’s Max Anstie was a decent third and produced his best showing yet at only his third GP on the eve of his eighteenth birthday. Bike it Cosworth Wild Wolf Yamaha’s Zach Osborne had a nasty crash after attempting to roll one of the low Valkenswaard leaps and was thrown into a side ditch/puddle that instantly turned the white-livered American to black. He was lucky to escape injury.
In MX1 Nagl and Frossard disputed first place and Frossard looked to have his second pole position sewn-up until hitting a hole on an entry to a turn and being pitched over the works Yamaha. He couldn’t restart quick enough to rise higher than thirteenth. Tony Cairoli showed no ill-effects of his twisted knee and fly up from outside the top ten (another bad start Tony) to take fourth; if it were a longer GP moto then he surely would have won considering the ground he was gaining. The KTM 350SX-Fs were separated by the factory Hondas of Evgeny Bobryshev and Rui Goncalves. The Russian shone/surprised by leading this GP last year and Goncalves won the MX2 class in 2009, so both podium contenders for Monday. David Philippaerts was fast but not-so-threatening and Clement Desalle produced a nervy ride to sixth, perhaps wary of his fall that dislocated a shoulder in 2010.
Ben Townley, on his return to the FIM World championship, and to Valkenswaard where he took his first career podium on a 125cc KTM in 2002 and MX2 victory in 2004, was 16th and brutally honest that he was not at the state of fitness and form that he needed to be.
More from Valkenswaard on the Twitter feed tomorrow…OTOR3 online on Tuesday evening.
1. Maximilian Nagl (GER, KTM), 24:54.711; ;
2. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Honda), +0:05.633;
3. Rui Goncalves (POR, Honda), +0:06.307;
4. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:07.207;
5. David Philippaerts (ITA, Yamaha), +0:12.989;
6. Clement Desalle (BEL, Suzuki), +0:19.643;
7. Ken de Dycker (BEL, Honda), +0:21.558;
8. Marc de Reuver (NED, Yamaha), +0:46.695;
9. Steve Ramon (BEL, Suzuki), +0:49.948;
10. Shaun Simpson (GBR, Honda), +0:53.691;
1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 24:19.560; ;
2. Ken Roczen (GER, KTM), +0:16.147;
3. Max Anstie (GBR, Kawasaki), +0:20.798;
4. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Yamaha), +0:34.905;
5. Tommy Searle (GBR, Kawasaki), +0:40.628;
6. Arnaud Tonus (SUI, Yamaha), +0:41.569;
7. Harri Kullas (FIN, Yamaha), +0:51.748;
8. Joel Roelants (BEL, KTM), +1:02.871;
9. Antonio Jose Butron Oliva (ESP, KTM), +1:17.870;
10. Zachary Osborne (USA, Yamaha), +1:22.413;